Houston 93, Cleveland 85

Hey guys? All-Star break is over. The Cavs never sustained any energy throughout the evening. They’d have a couple plays here and there, but nothing that would carry over. They were down most of the game (actually their best stretch was early, when to got out to a 10-2 lead) and seemed to be waiting to make a run. But the run never came (but let’s be fair, Houston is a pretty damn good team, who has won 9 in a row… but still, I would’ve liked to see a little more energy out there.

LeBron had a triple double, but it wasn’t enough. Though the stats are nice (26, 13 and 11) it was a relatively quite triple double. LeBron played pretty well, but his shot didn’t start falling until the fourth quarter (he had no field goals in the first half). His head didn’t seem in it; at one point, he got his pocket picked by Luis Scola and he ‘led’ all players with 5 turnovers. From what I could tell, it seemed like LeBron was taking on more of the point guard duties; he took the ball up, he set up the offense (and his teammates) and he led most of the breaks. Not sure what that means exactly, but it seemed like he had the ball in his hands earlier in the possessions.

He did get a little help (but just a little). Both Z and Larry Hughes scored 16 points, but Z was 8-15 while Larry was 5-15… Z didn’t get any free throw attempts, which is kinda irksome, and he only grabbed 7 boards. Hughes… well, he had 4 boards and 2 assists…

The bench was particularly useless. With Varejao out, Mike Brown needs to find a way to always keep either Drew Gooden or Z on the floor (the Cavs got beat on the boards, 47-45). When both starting big men sit, the Cavs rebounding (especially at the offensive end) is atrocious. The Cavaliers benched combined totaled 11 points (4-16 FG) and 10 boards. Daniel Gibson in particular didn’t play well; Boobie was 1-5 from the floor, got beat defensively a couple times and gave LeBron one of the worst post feeds I’ve ever seen in my life- maybe he’s recovering from New Orleans, I dunno.

This game was ugly all around. The Cavs did a good job defending Tracy McGrady (6-21) and Yao (3-17) and the Rockets shot 40% for the game (to the Cavs 38%). The refs didn’t help matters; 4 technical fouls were called (2 on each team) and the there looked like a lot of contract was overlooked. Also, neither team shot free throw very well; Houston was 21-30 (but Yao was 10-10) and the Cavs were 17-23 (LeBron was 8-11).

The Rockets’ role players killed them. Rafer Alston (22 points) hit 6 3s and a few daggers down the stretch that put the game away. Somehow Scola finished with 15 points on various offensive rebounds and set jumpers (I’m not sure he was guarded all night) and he also grabbed 8 boards.

and finally…

Last game before the trade deadline. The Cavs travel to Indiana to face the Pacers (of course they do, why wouldn’t they start the second half with a back-to-back… second night on the road). I may be speaking for myself, but I’m really waiting to see who dresses tonight. If the game starts and Ira Newble and Donyell Marshall don’t check in, I’ll be very happy (and slightly aroused).

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